Albert Lea, Freeborn County encourage residents to reuse, recycle holiday materials

Published 8:55 am Friday, December 1, 2023

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The city of Albert Lea and Freeborn County encourage residents to reuse and recycle holiday materials instead of throwing them in the trash.

On an average day, a typical Minnesotan creates roughly 6 pounds of waste. That increases 25% during the holidays for 7.5 pounds per day.

“The holidays are a time for celebration and giving, but they also generate a lot of waste,” said Mark Goskeson, solid waste manager for Freeborn County. “By reusing and recycling holiday materials, we can help reduce our impact on the environment and make the holidays more sustainable.”

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What to place in your recycling cart:

  • Simple wrapping paper without foil or lamination
  • Toy boxes with cellophane removed
  • Rinsed food containers
  • Holiday cards and envelopes without glitter and foil.

What to keep out of your recycling cart:

  • Plastic bags: recycle at grocery stores
  • Bows and ribbons: save to reuse
  • Laminated gift bags: save to reuse
  • Batteries: recycle at Freeborn County Environmental Services at no charge
  • Christmas lights: recycle at Freeborn County Environmental Services at no charge
  • Electronics: recycle at Freeborn County Environmental Services, some fees may apply
  • Puzzles: exchange at Albert Lea Public Library, 211 E. Clark St.
  • Bubble wrap: save to reuse
  • Unwanted toys in good shape: donate to non-profits, churches or schools
  • Foam packaging: place in trash
  • Cellophane wrap: place in trash

Live tree disposal:

County recycling programs:

  • Freeborn County Environmental Services, 2020 Pioneer Trail, offers recycling programs, such as residential single-stream recycling carts, electronics recycling, and free household hazardous waste disposal.
  • For more information about recycling, call 507-377-5186 or visit the county website at

City Transfer Station:

For items that cannot be recycled or reused, the Transfer Station, 2506 West Richway Drive, offers disposal for various fees:

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: Closed
  • Friday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Sunday: Closed

For more information about the Transfer Station, call 507-377-4325 or visit